Catholic Church in Australia Timeline
On Australia Day we usually recall our past and the events that help shape our nation. The Church has of course also had a major impact on the forming of Australia. Take a fascinating trip into the past and follow an abridged timeline to see how the Church has helped shape our culture.
Follow the history of the Church from first settlement. Click on links in orange to see more from original sources. Timeline courtesy of the Australian Catholic Historical Society.
Jan 23 First Fleet enters Sydney Cove;
Third convict priest, Fr Peter O’Neil, arrives and is sent to Norfolk Island
Fr Harold departs, leaving Australia without priests;
Fr Jeremiah O’Flynn arrives – without government credentials
First census of NSW shows 69% of the white population Protestant and 30% Catholic.
Bishop Polding arrives in Sydney as bishop; first resident clergy appointed to districts.
First Australian conference of St Vincent de Paul Society and orphanage established in Melbourne;
Bishops’ pastoral letter declares white men have “too often been apostles of Satan” in dealing with aboriginals;
First Plenary Council of Australian bishops;
Cardinal Moran speaks against anti-Chinese immigration legislation;
Foundation stone laid of first Melkite church in Australia;
Cardinal Moran speaks at Bathurst in favour of Federation
Australian Catechism inaugurated;
World War I declared;
Crowds of half a million watch the procession ending the International Eucharistic Congress in Sydney;
Catholic radio station 2SM opened in Sydney;
Eucharistic Congress in Melbourne (newsreel)
Tension between Australian cricket captain Don Bradman and Catholic members of the team
Aboriginal order of nuns founded in the Kimberley
First annual Catholic bishops’ social justice statement;
Calwell’s agreement with International Refugee Organization begins large-scale immigration of Eastern European Displaced Persons
Labor Party split pits majority of Labor Party against B.A. Santamaria‘s “Movement”; predominantly Catholic Democratic Labor Party formed;
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine begun to provide religious instruction in state schools;
Second Vatican Council opens in Rome;
Mass in English;
Mass For You At Home begins, to become longest-running show on commercial
Patrick Dodson ordained, first Aboriginal priest;
Australian acceptance of boat people from Vietnam begins large-scale Asian immigration, including Catholics
This time line is a summary from the Australian Catholic Historical Society website. Visit it here to see the complete time line